Wireless and USB Charging: A Perfect Combo for Hotels
If you recall, our mission at Nonstop is to create technology solutions that provide guests with everything they want and nothing they don’t in a compact, modern and approachable design. This means making some tough decisions about what features are necessary, and which ones we should omit.
In the world of clocks, AM/FM radio is one feature we felt no longer had a place in the modern hotel guest-room. I think we can agree that the vast majority of guests prefer to listen to their own music via bluetooth or AUX cord. Plus no one knows the stations, it’s often full of static, and it requires more buttons - complicating the user interface.
While that was a fairly easy decision, something we struggled with was whether to include AC outlets. AC, or Alternating Current outlets, have been the primary form of power delivery for over 100 years. Basically anything you own that consumers power can probably be connected via an AC outlet in some way.
While AC Outlets have dominated for over a century, the last decade has given rise to another form of power delivery - USB charging. Nearly all the personal electronics guests bring can be charged via USB - especially the ones that sit next to them at the nightstand. This includes smartphones, tablets, smart watches, Bluetooth headphones and more.
In other words, in the world of consumer electronics USB is as universal as AC - but with one major benefit - its size. When implementing AC outlets you have to allow ample room to accommodate the large sockets - which can make things quite bulky. . USB outlets however have a much smaller footprint, allowing you to implement multiple outlets while keeping the solution sleek and modern. Side benefit - USB outlets are simpler for guests since they only need their charging cable - leaving the bulky AC to USB bricks in their bag.
For these reasons it made the most sense to forego AC outlets and double down on USB charging. But with nearly 50% of guests traveling with 3 devices, we knew we needed to include something else - enter Wireless Charging.
We won’t go into detail about why every hotel should be looking at adding wireless charging (because we’ve already done so here and here) - instead we’ll look at why USB and Wireless Charging are a winning combination.
Since USB is the simple way to charge over 90% of the devices guests travel with; it has become the power source they are hoping to find at the nightstand. But when paired with wireless charging it gets even simpler to charge stuff. No need to fumble around in the dark for a charging cable, just drop your phone on the wireless charger and you’re good to go!
We’ve heard some concerns that without AC outlets guests won’t be able to use their irons, hair dryers, steamers, etc - while it is true that these types of devices do need AC outlets, the majority of guests either plug them into the bathroom or in a AC outlet on the wall. It’s not necessary to accommodate these types of things on the nightstand. And let’s face it; we’ve finally reached the point where most modern hotels have AC outlets built into the surface of the furniture at the desk or headboard.
We’ve gone into detail several times about how wireless charging allows for more creative designs that blend technology with the decor. Pairing it with the small and sleek USB outlets makes it ideal for any kind of interior design style. This modern style is much more difficult to pull off using bulky AC outlets.
This one might be the most important. The universalness of both USB charging and Wireless Charging is unparalleled. Devices all over the world charge via the same USB ports - regardless of make or model. Doesn’t matter if it’s an iPhone or Android, or if you’re from the US or the UK - chances are your device can charge via USB.
Wireless Charging, while still in its infancy compared to USB charging - will take that universalness to the next level. Because the industry has settled on one standard (qi) every wireless charging device will be able to charge on any wireless charger. Never again will you worry about Lighting vs Micro USB, or USB vs USB-C, with Qi wireless charging, just set your device down and get a charge.
Note regarding USB-C. We acknowledge its growing prevalence and importance. But we look to one key factor and that’s where its being used and where its not being used. What kind of cable ships with the newest phones? Apple is standard USB to Lighting. Android is only type C on the device side… the side that plugs to power is still traditional USB. Unless and until that changes guests won’t be looking for USB-C charging ports.
There’s no question that it was bold and risky to omit AC outlets from our products. After all it’s the most known form of power delivery and just about everybody is comfortable using it.
But we felt in order to be a truly innovative and modern company, we needed to build solutions that incorporated only modern elements. That meant removing some of the traditional features like AM/FM Radio and AC, for more modern features like Wireless Charging, USB charging, and Bluetooth.